Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is righting the ship after Sarasota native and Olympic silver medalist Emma Weyant came in second place to transgender competitor Lia Thomas in last week’s 500-yard freestyle event of the Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships.
Weyant, a freshman at the University of Virginia, came in behind Thomas with a time of 4:34.99.
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On Tuesday, DeSantis said during a press conference he will sign a proclamation declaring Weyant — instead of Thomas — the winner of the NCAA competition.
“If you look at what the NCAA has done by allowing basically men to compete in women’s athletics, in this case, the swimming, you had the No. 1 woman who finished was from Sarasota and then Weyant, she won the silver medal, she’s been an absolute superstar her whole career,” said the governor. “She trains, I mean, to compete at that level is very, very difficult. And you don’t just roll out of bed and do it. That takes grit, that takes determination, and she’s been an absolute superstar and she had the fastest time of any woman in college athletics.”
“She had the fastest time of any woman in college athletics,” he continued. “Now the NCAA is basically taking efforts to destroy women’s athletics. They’re trying to undermine the integrity of the competition, crowning somebody else the women’s champion, and we think that’s wrong.”
Prior to placing first last week, Thomas had, until 2019, competed on the men’s team.
In the wake of Thomas’ victory, several turned to social media stating their refusal to recognize Thomas, a biological male, as the true winner of the women’s competition.
Setting aside biology, Thomas fully identifies as female and pushes back against anyone who suggests otherwise.
“The very simple answer is that I’m not a man,” Thomas told Sports Illustrated. “I’m a woman, so I belong on the women’s team. Trans people deserve that same respect every other athlete gets.”
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